Overprescribed opioids for pets are being used by their owners

Even in the UK we have heard of the US opioid crisis. For instance, some less than ethical doctors (for humans) are overprescribing Tramadol to their patients to feed an addiction to these prescription painkillers. Overall there were 72,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 in the USA. On Jan 16th 2018, The Times newspaper reports that opioid overdoses have surpassed car crashes as the most likely cause of preventable deaths in the US.

“The Nationla Safety Council said that Americans had a one in 96 chance of dying from opioid overdose compared with a one in 203 chance of dying in a car crash…”

Tramadol for pets
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Photo in public domain

It is now reported that veterinarians who are more concerned nowadays about pain in animals, post-op, tend to overprescribe four types of painkilling opioids: Tramadol, Hydrocodone, codeine tablets and Fentanyl patches for pets.

When some of these medications are unused it is feared that the pet’s owner uses them to feed their addiction or potential addiction.

This is the assessment of a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine, published Friday in Jama Network Open.

They conclude that the quantity of these drugs measured in morphine milligram equivalents (MME), rose by 41 percent. However, the number of visits to vets rose by 13 percent over the year.

The researchers suggest that pills meant for pets might be fuelling the opioid crisis in America.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Albert Schepis says:

    The crisis is built around a minority of abusing addicted people fueled by the illegal, underground drug trade. The strength and dosages you can get for fluffy aren’t worth a person’s while. The whole issue is an over-reaction that villainizes every doctor and dentist who prescribes it and victimizes every patient who needs it and can’t get it because it’s politically incorrect. Decent people are paying an unfair price now, having to tolerate their unrelenting pain for the sake of this issue. And now veterinarians are pressured to give less if any medication at all to their patients who need it. I’m familiar with all this personally.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks for your valued input Albert. Appreciated. I guess what you are saying is that study’s findings or what they suggest is erroneous.

      • Albert Schepis says:

        A little bit. You can take raw data and draw differing conclusions from it. Some studies are done with the idea of supporting solutions with hidden or ulterior agendas (data mining). The viewpoint I stated is simply one that I think is overlooked. I haven’t had to look very far anymore to find some innocent person who can’t get their pain med anymore because of ever tightening restrictions. Overreaction can cause unintended consequences is all. I happen to be in a group of patients who are feeling it, pun intended. I’ve never known a doctor who pushes narcotics either, so I don’t think they’re very common or a scourge on modern society so… but if you know of any (heh, heh) JUST KIDDING. I haven’t had any hydrocodone in weeks and I do everything else I can to ease pain. I don’t smoke pot or drink or anything either. Fact is I have half a bottle of them in my desk and choose not to touch them unless absolutely necessary. Not an addict but the pharmacists are geared to assume everyone is. Makes you not want to trust the system, which is an unintended consequence.

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